09/25/14

Like A Tree That Falls In The Forest…

If I cannot feel my feet, am I really walking?

If I cannot feel my feet, am I really walking?

If I ignore my issues, will they fail to be issues?

I walk down the hallway, at work, on the long trek to the time clock. Each day the hallway seems longer with its wildly patterned carpet. It gets harder and harder the further I walk to put one foot in front of the other. My chest heaves with the effort to breath as I travel the length of the hall. It is not that far, I refuse to believe that I am winded, as if I have just walked miles.

The patterning of the flooring is beautiful, but distorts my vision and I focus my eyes upward, fearing the double vision that is threatening. My legs feel extremely weak and I am afraid that I am going to fall.

How had it come to this?

Just a week ago I had taken Georgia, our daughter, to register for school. I had not been feeling well, but I wanted to do this with her. Registering as a Freshman is a big deal. She is growing up so fast, and I did not want to miss another milestone. And I did not want to ask Bruce to take more time off work to do another thing, one more thing, that I did not feel strong enough to do.

When we arrived at the school we had to walk quite a ways to get to the registration area. I was a bit winded, legs a bit weak, but I trudged on. We saw a line wending through a large room, there were stations to stop along the way manned by multiple volunteers to assist us through the morass.

The room was loud. Conversations leaping around and over us, I tried to stay focused on what we needed to accomplish. As we moved from one helpful volunteer to another, who were shouting, or though it seemed to me, directives. Not only was I having issues physically, mentally I became overwhelmed.

Halfway through the line we came to the station were Georgia would receive her school ID, all of her information would be stored on the card, requiring her thumb print. With ID in hand, thumbprint scanned we needed to place a deposit into her lunch account. As we follow the moving line I am attempting to write a check, converse with a helpful volunteer, Georgia chooses this moment to grab my arm to tell me something, and another volunteer is snapping her fingers at me white barking repeatedly, “HERE, HERE!”

I lost it.

Me, who multitasks with the best of them. Me, who can make a drink, tell a joke, listen to one conversation with one ear and use the other ear to hear a client 40 feet away wishing aloud for a refill on their wine, pour their wine, finish the joke, answer the query heard with the first ear, and deliver the wine to the clients 40 feet away- without batting an eye. (Yeah, makes me tired just to think of it, but that was normal for me…once upon a time.)

I pull myself back together, we move on through the line. But now I am exhausted. We walk for miles to find her locker and her classes.  I stand up against the wall, fearing that my legs are going to give out, and I am trying not to rush this. I am trying not to ruin something else for my daughter simply because I don’t “feel good”.

I try.

But I do not succeed and I feel myself losing the strength in my legs as I slide down the wall. Hoping that it looks nonchalant, not totally lame or uncool. I stay there, thankful when minutes later another exhausted mom sits beside me and we watch our girls putting together their lockers.

After some time we decide to leave and go school shopping, it is much more difficult walking out than it was walking in. And I needed to go home and rest a bit before going on with our day. I am now not only exhausted I am extremely nauseous.

I never really recovered physically.

And each morning as I trek down the hallway at work I am reminded of my weakness. Physically and mentally. I just need to make it through another day, and another, and the next.

One numb foot after the other.

 

nikki

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09/22/14

Semantic Satiation-Saying Something So Many Times It Loses Meaning

fscott

“I don’t feel good…”

Seems to be the most often said phrase in my vocabulary. Over the last two years I have uttered these words again and again. Even I am sick of hearing it.

When something is said over and over it seems to lose its meaning. I know what I mean when I say “I don’t feel good.” Maybe I should throw in a few more descriptive adjectives, shake it up a bit, instead of uttering the all encompassing “I don’t feel good”.

If you are a parent you know exactly what “semantic satiation” is…after hearing your child repeat “mom, mom, mom, MOM, MOM, MOM!” over and over and over again. Not only do the words lose meaning, you tune it out and swear that you are going to change your name.

“I don’t feel good” has taken on the same concept…

Making a Doctor Appointment…

I knew that things were different this time. I wasn’t thinking clearly. It is one thing to have physical issues, but when the stupid “Demon” started messing with my brain and my competence, well…that was a different story.

So I called my Doctor, I have spoken with his team so many times that I do not even have to tell them my name when I call, they recognize my voice. They are a very caring team and have gone above and beyond for me throughout the entire time that I have been a patient.

They have stood beside me these last two years, willing to try just about anything to relieve my symptoms, to send me to many varied specialists. My GP believed in me and my nameless disease. He stood by me.

But, I guess he got sick of hearing “I don’t feel good” too.

He was frustrated.

So, at our last appointment he prescribed me an anti-anxiety med, thinking that maybe this was “all in my head”. I left his office in a haze of disbelief. I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that the one person I had counted on, really counted on, for help was no longer in my corner.

I realize…

That the mind is extremely powerful. And the messed up mind is just as powerful as the one of a young prodigy, as the brain in an award winning journalist, or a Noble Prize winner. I get that. The mind can make you achieve greatness, find a cure for disease, or make you believe that you are the only one who can save the world from aliens.

I get that.

So, on my first day off of work I took the anti-anxiety pill. I wanted to be home when I took it, not sure of its effect. It was a low dose, 25 MG, really…what harm could it do?

At this point I really had nothing to lose, my hands, feet, lips and tongue had been numb for over a week, my mind was not completing thoughts, I was having problems walking, words were getting stuck in my mouth, and I was tired. Oh, so tired. I resented the fact that my Doctor thought I was crazy, but I was willing to try just about anything to get better. Two years is a long time to feel crappy. A really long time.

I was home alone, Bruce had gone to see his family in Michigan, the kids were off doing their own thing, but I took it anyway. What harm could this teeny-tiny pill do?

Famous last words?

The first night I felt a bit off, not realizing until Bruce called me exactly how “off” I was. I stuttered as I talked, getting stuck on words and sounds, my tremor in my head and hands worsened. I assured him that I was fine and that I was going to bed soon.

I did not take the second pill until he got back home the next day. My speech became more broken and it was hard for me to communicate my thoughts, the words would fall out of my head before I could say them, the nausea was overwhelming, and my entire body felt like one huge misfiring nerve. My skin was humming. I was dizzy and I felt horrible.

We thought about going to the ER, it was that bad, but decided to give it time to work out of my system. For hours I felt like a live electrical current was running through my body, thankfully it subsided.

I did not take the pill again. But it was my downfall. My speech took days to return (at times I still have issues, especially when stressed), the tremors and the pain in my arms and legs were/are intense.

Monday was my day off work and I was hoping that by Tuesday the pill would be out of my system so I could return to my job. You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? On Monday morning my boss called, asking if could I come into work this afternoon? A co-worker had called in sick and they needed help.

After hearing my broken speech and disorientation they covered my shifts for the week in hopes that I would be able to come back soon.

The search is on…

I know that I do not want to be sick. I am not making myself sick. And I begin to look for someone else, anyone else, who will search for answers to my ailment. A Doctor that will stand with me, by me, in support of finding the name of the “Demon”.

I sent emails, looking for someone who knew of a good Neurologist. Then I emailed the Doctor that I saw at MSU last year, outlining all of my symptoms and asking for help. My GP’s office was looking for someone here in Fort Wayne that I could see ASAP, to no avail. The soonest appointment I could book was 5 weeks in the future. Five weeks!

Stress sets in, Bruce attempts to calm me down, and then I feel it. The numbness in my hands and feet begins to rapidly travel up my legs and down my arms, my entire face is tingling. Although I try to calm myself it is too little, too late. My entire body is numb.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I am lost. I need help. But I cannot find it. I cannot feel my body.  I am lost.

I begin talking to God. “Please,”I ask, “help me. I need help. I cannot do this anymore.”

I lay down, trying to relieve my stress, I am mad, so absolutely crazed by the fact that I can not get help.

I am numb, my brain is not working right, I am now off of work, and I cannot get any help. My Doctor thinks I am nuts, and no relief is in sight. None.

Although I had not received an answer…

From the Neurologist/Ophthalmologist at MSU via email, I decide to call. What could it hurt?

Once again, I am shown, that I am not alone. I never have been, no matter how much I doubt or disparage. No matter how weak my faith is.

There was a cancellation, for the following day,  in less than 24 hours. Mere minutes after I asked for help-it is handed to me.

I take it.

And before I can begin to plan, to figure out how I am going to get to MSU, before I insert my human instinct to control the situation, before anything…

I bow my head in thanks.

I am not alone.

 

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P.S. Just wanted to note that the med prescribed by my Doc should not have hurt me, he did not give me something that he should not have, I just had an extremely bad reaction. Still love my Doc and his team and will continue to see them and count on them. Although I was upset-he had to explore every avenue. Consider that avenue closed!

 

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09/21/14

A Bit Here~A Piece There…

help

Although I was worried…

After my tussle with the fax machine, I tried to put it behind me. But it was a niggle, a constant annoying thought, in the back of my mind. I continued to work, taking care to minimize my mistakes.

As I sat with clients at my desk, inputting information into the computer, I began to notice that my typing skills were floundering. Reading back over the words that I had typed I noticed that the words I had written had all of the right letters in them, but the letters were out of order. Jumbled into odd combinations.

I began to watch how I typed and it seemed like my hands were getting the message, but that it was delayed. I knew what keys I wanted to hit, but my reaction times were off. I think that my right hand was typing too slowly. So the letters were right, just not in the right order.

It took me longer to complete client orders and I began to turn my computer monitor towards my clients so that they could point out my spelling errors. I would joke about how my typing was off that day, the client was unaware that it was becoming an ongoing issue. But I knew.

Most of the mistakes I made…

I caught. Some I didn’t. They were always small things, mostly on completion. I could not seem to follow through. I attempted to go from the beginning to the end of a process without dropping a step. Somewhere along the way I would lose a bit here or a piece there. I just did not realize it.

Knowing that I was making errors in typing I made sure that I paid attention to what I wrote. Underneath, in my subconscious, anxiety was building, but I was unaware how anxious that I actually was.

Then, although I knew I was doing it when I did it, I began to become a bit dyslexic with numbers. I could see them correctly, but when I would recite them to a client, such as an address or a phone number, I would say the numbers out of order. It was so weird to see 428 as I heard myself repeat 482. It irritated me, and I am sure that I confused the clients. Reassuring them that I had typed it right, but reciting it wrong.

I knew that I was saying it incorrectly as I was saying it, but I could not stop myself, my mouth was not saying what my eyes were seeing.

A bit here and a piece there.

But I was not going to give up. I had beat the “Demon”, for a year and a half. I wanted to continue as the victor. I needed to win.

Over the next few weeks I began to notice the numbness. I had complained to my GP about a metallic taste in my mouth, it had persisted for months. And it was one of my symptoms in the early days after the stroke.

At least I had thought it was a metallic taste, but I now realize that my lips were numb. Odd feeling, that. When I would run my tongue over my lips to wet them, I could barely feel it. It seemed like there was a barrier between the two.

A few days later I realized that my hands and feet were tingly, “dizzy” I called it. Almost numb, but not quite. Almost like they were on the verge of falling asleep, but they just would not wake up. It was constant.

I am sure that the anxiety in my subconscious was building at a voracious rate, but I kept tamping it down, trying my best to ignore all of the symptoms. I would make my way through the long day at work, go home, rest, eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed. Everything that I did was to enable me to get through another day.

My life seemed to be moving by me…

I missed events that I really wanted to take part in. The energy just wasn’t there. I was tapped. Putting one foot in front of the other, one numb foot in front of the other, was all that I could manage.

 

 

nikki

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09/20/14

I Knew, Deep Down, I Was In Trouble…

Ishouldhaveknown

It was a normal day…

As normal as they get. I was at work and a co-worker asked me to send a fax for her. So I popped it in the machine and sent it. Simple as that. Done.

She made a comment about how I put the document into the machine, questioning if i did it correctly. How dare she? Seriously, I fax 30 or 40 times a day. Of course I did it correctly. Duh?!?! Slightly irritated with her inane questions I went on with my day.

A while later I receive an email (from someone that I had sent multiple faxes) stating that all the documents I had sent were blank, she asked if I could resend them.

I had a bit of a niggle.

A bit later I receive a phone call from another office, one that I had just faxed moments earlier. All the faxes that they had received were blank also.

The niggle turned into a slight panic. Over the last 24 hours I had sent a large number of faxes. Important paperwork. Time sensitive. I go back over all the paper work that I could recall sending, hoping that I could remember everything. I decided to resend everything that I had faxed over the past two days, if duplicates were received-well, then they were. If the recipients were irritated by the repetition or the waste-too bad. I needed to make sure that they received the paperwork!

As I am writing this I am getting the same anxious feeling that I had that day-it was the second week in July-although that was more than a month ago, I can feel it as if it happened yesterday. There is a tightness in my chest, my vision is threatening to double, a slight panic is running through my whole body.

After I gathered all of the documents together I moved to the fax machine intending to resubmit each and every one.

This is the moment…

The second that everything changed.

I could not remember how to use the fax machine.

I COULD NOT REMEMBER HOW TO USE THE FAX MACHINE!!!!!

Standing there, staring at the machine, a machine that I used often, I sent faxes everyday, lots of faxes, and I could not remember how to place the papers. Did I place them front facing or did I put them face down. I stood there, alternatively staring and blinking, blinking and staring.

I expected the answer to come. But it did not. How could the answer not come? How could I not picture in my mind how to send the fax?

I panicked a bit more, not sure what to do.

Not only did I use this machine many times during the course of a day, for years, in my past life I sold office equipment. I programmed these machines, set them up, trained the customers how to use them, for years. Now, I could not remember simple operations.

In fact, I recall a vivid dream involving a fax machine from my past. I was working really hard to make my niche in the sales world. One night I awoke in the middle of the night, heading to the bathroom, when I came back into the bedroom I awoke Bruce to tell him that the faxes that I sent to “Cross Creek” were not sending and I was very agitated. I told him that I repeatedly tried to send them but that they were not going.

He had just been wakened from a deep sleep and he was confused for a moment. Becoming more confused as I kept repeating that the faxes were not being received. The dream was quite vivid and 15+ years later I remember it in detail. Bruce realized at that point that I was sleep walking and woke me up. I protested for a few more moments…Cross Creek, faxes…etc. Then I woke up.

I was a bit hung up on the fax machine, and maybe having a bit of withdrawal from my favorite soap opera. What is it with me and fax machines!?

I wan’t going to ask how to send the dog-gone thing.

How could I ask? My boss would know that I was an idiot.

I thought I was an idiot, how could she not feel the same?

So, I held my breath and turned the papers face down and sent them to another office. A few minutes later I called them, had they received my fax? Was it blank?

They thanked me for fixing the fax machine.

I had not fixed anything.

In fact, this is the moment that I knew that I was in trouble.

I had not fixed anything, in fact, it was the beginning.

Just the beginning.

 

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09/19/14

I Am So Fickle…

(I found this in my drafts, written a few months ago. It is so hard to believe that she has been gone for almost 3 months, I still miss her everyday.)

(I found this in my drafts, written a few months ago. It is so hard to believe that she has been gone for almost 3 months, I still miss her everyday.)

As adverse as I am to change,

I am recently realizing that much of the time I am the catalyst for that change. And that pisses me off. Rarely do I curse in my writings, but I am realizing how human I am. Not that I thought I was super-human, but I expect more of myself.

Today I broke down crying while sweeping the floor. Yeah, I know, cleaning house is sometimes enough to make any grown-up cry. But seriously?!?!?!?

I cried because the more I clean the less dog hair there will be in our home. Two weeks ago I HATED having dog hair all over…all over everything! HATED it! But now I know, just two weeks later, what dog hair means. And I wear it, all over my clothing, like a badge. I don’t obsessively brush it off my black pants, or tape roll myself before leaving the house. Because when the dog hair is gone…well, it will be gone. Forever.

Silly, I know. But while I have the hair…all over the couch, the carpets, our bed…I still have her. Just bits and pieces. But soon those bits and pieces will be gone. And there will be nothing tangible of her, nothing to touch, or none of her touching us.

Irrational? Yes. Fickle? Yes. And oh so human.

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09/5/14

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.” ― T.S. Eliot

birthday useOnce again it’s that time of year.

In a few days it will be my birthday.

As much as I hate to admit,  I am “that person”. We all know someone that is hard to find a present for, I am one of them.

Normally I like to get practical items as gifts, crazy I know. But if I receive a vacuum, mixer, or bath towels as a gift then I can buy myself something that I want.

Two years ago,

On my 45th birthday, I got sick and I spent my birthday in bed. In fact, I spent the next 7 months in bed.

Last year, my 46th birthday, we had a party. We invited all of our closest friends. As sick as I had been the previous year we were afraid I wouldn’t have a 46th birthday, I wanted to celebrate life.

As you can see from the photos above, we had a great time.

This year,

I want something far less practical. You could say it is the most frivolous thing ever. Silly. Foolish.

I want a mulligan.

I am not a golfer. In fact, the few times that I participated in the sport, I ended up in the emergency room.

Regardless, a mulligan is at the top of my birthday gift list this year.

mul·li·gan   noun \ˈmə-li-gən\

“In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke. The result is, as the hole is played and scored, as if the first errant shot had never been made.”

In other words, I want a “do over”. More than anything.

I have been mulling this over today, as if it were truly a real possibility.

So, let’s play a little game of “what if”.

If you could have a mulligan, a “do over” if you will, what would you choose?

Which birthday would you return to, if you could?

Would you choose your 18th? 21st?

Do you want to return to your youth? Years before all the responsibilities of adulthood replaced your wild spontaneity?

I would love to go back to my 40th.

Not that long ago. Just 7 years in the past.

I don’t really want to be younger. I am not wanting to wish away responsibilities or wrinkles.

Looking back, to my 40th year I now realize that we lived in a “sweet spot”.

Bruce and I had been married for 8 years, we made it past the 7 year itch, and we were happy, really happy.

We had purchased a home the year before, and we loved it. Our neighbors were great, we got together often. Kids were everywhere, running from one house into another. Bonfires, cookouts, drinks on the patio. It was perfect.

This was the year that we found Rosie, our boxer baby. She brought so much joy into our lives. Now, I miss her so much, I would love to have her in our lives again.

Between the kids, Bruce and Rosie our home was filled with love and laughter.

I also had a job that I loved. Hartley’s was not only my place of employment, it was like home. Every single day I got to go to work, hang out, eat great food, see friends, make new ones, enjoy a cocktail, laugh and laugh some more.

It was the first time in my life that I truly felt like I fit.

Hartley’s was the place where “everyone knew your name”, and if they did not know you when you came in-they definitely knew you before you left. And, most likely, plans had been made to meet up again on your next visit.

When I worked at Hartley’s my name changed, I was no longer Nikki Frank-Hamilton, I was Nikki From Hartley’s, same initials though! It was meant to be. No matter where Bruce and I would go from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to just around the corner…everyone knew Nikki From Hartley’s.

I am sure that we had something or other happen that year, but I can’t remember any really bad or stressful times.

This would be my mulligan and although I know that it not possible, I want to believe what T.S. Eliot said, so this year as I blow out my birthday candles, with just one breath…I will be wishing for a mulligan.

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”

So, on Sunday if you find yourself sitting at a quaint little bar, martini in hand, sit back, let me tell you a joke or two. I will introduce you to all the regulars and serve you some incredible food. I promise that we will show you a good time. And if we are incredibly lucky, a la the movie “Groundhog Day”, I will see you again the next day!

Looking forward to it!

Cheers!

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08/2/14

“I Know That You Are In There…”1990 (Chapter 44)

Untitled

“Open The Door…”

Cue the melodramatic music, and watch-in disbelief- as the heroine, in slow motion, reaches out her hand to turn the door knob, opening the door to let the evil inside…

That was not going to be me, I felt like I was sleep walking, this was the stuff that nightmares were made of.

At least the nightmares that I had been having for the last several months. What a surreal moment, I knew that it could not be true, that I should pinch myself to make sure that I was awake. Standing in front of the door in my pajamas, waiting for the Director to yell “CUT!”.

Luckily, sanity took hold and I pulled my hand away from the door at the last second.

In my dreams I had never felt my heart beat so hard, threatening to burst out of my chest.

Or felt the hair on my arms stand straight up.

This was real, I was awake.

Even though Larry and I had planned, for weeks, for every possible situation, all our planning had been for naught, this had not even been a possibility.

Hubby was supposed to land in the states, TODAY.

On the West Coast, TODAY.

He should not be HERE, not NOW.

But he was.

No more wondering, in fear. No more worrying myself to death as I waited.

I had the answer to the question, “When would Hubby arrive?”

I had been fearing the question.

Now, knowing, I feared the answer more.

At this point in the story…

Everyone asks, “What did you do?”

This seems to be the pivotal point.

What I did, at this very moment, could change the story-line.

Right here, right now.

This moment defined my future.

I had several options.

I could have opened the door, allowed him to have his say. Let him grovel in person, instead of over the phone. I knew that everyone expected me to do this.

To see the error of my ways. To rip the Scarlet Letter off of my chest, denouncing my relationship with Larry.  Falling at the feet of my Hubby sobbing for forgiveness.

To pack my bags and return to my marriage and our home.

Looking in from the outside, maybe this is what everyone thought that I should do.

After all, I was only 21 years old, I had made mistakes, I was too young to understand marriage. My hubby was a respected member of our military. Beloved by his family.

This could have been the answer, it would be the end of this story, our reunion morphed into a “Happily Ever After”.

But, I knew things that the others, those looking in from the outside, did not.

I knew that hubby had hurt someone in the past.

In the recent past.

I also knew that the person that he had hurt was a woman.

A woman who was just doing her job.

When his buddies told me the story they laughed it off.

He was drunk.

It was a boyish misdemeanor.

He missed me.

He missed me so much that he got so incredibly drunk.

So incredibly drunk that he did not remember.

He missed me so much that he got so drunk that he hurt someone, a woman, and he did not remember.

Harlequin Romance Addict…

That was me.

All I heard, all that registered, was that he missed me.

He missed me so much that he got drunk.

He missed me so much that he got drunk and that he did not remember what had happened.

Actually, all I heard was HE MISSED ME.

Had anyone ever loved me so much that they did unspeakable things-because missing ME-hurt so much?

How romantic.

This must be true love. I was the only thing that he needed in life.

Being with me would make things better. All would be right in our world-if we were together.

I dismissed the fact that he had hurt someone. I am not sure that I even heard that part of the story.

I was hung up on the fact that he needed me, he loved me, he missed me.

No one had ever loved me that much.

Ever.

This had to be it.

The love that I had been searching for my entire life, the whole twenty years of it. I was so desperate to be loved, and loved desperately, none of the other details mattered.

But, right now, in this very moment…

Standing in front of the door, wearing very little clothing, I felt naked. Inside and out. All of the pretenses were gone. Over the last six months the rose-colored glasses had come off.

No longer did I believe that the man on the other side of the door was my one true love.

My other half.

My soul mate.

No longer did I believe that he loved me. No longer did I believe that my absence had pushed him to drink himself into a stupor, absolving him of his actions.

I now saw him for what he was. When he turned and coldly walked away from me in the airport, just 7 months prior, he had given me clarity. I could see him now, who he really was.

Standing in front of the door…

Hand outstretched to turn the knob, I woke up-quickly. A decision had to be made.

All of the expectations weighed heavily, the expectations of friends and family, my expectations of myself. The fairy-tale dreams I had had for my future. But all of these expectations were weighed against my fears.

Fears for my physical and mental well-being. Fears that pointed to a lifetime of terror.

In this very second I had to decide, were my fears real? Was I over-dramatizing the situation?

As my hand hung in mid-air in front of the door my life hung in the balance. My mind was spinning, searching for the answer, and then I heard it, from deep inside.

The last words that were spoken before the connection had been lost.

Words spoken in the Philippines that echoed around the world, “I am going to kill you.” 

I slowly backed away from the door, cowering into the dark bedroom. I sat thanking God that I had not been awake, that I had not yet gotten up to make breakfast, that I had not turned on the television. There were no sounds coming from the inside of the apartment, nothing to give away my presence.

Even though I knew he could not hear me, I held my breath, attempting to wait him out. Soon, he would leave.

I prayed that he would leave.

That he would not break down the down.

This was not going to be the day I died.

I was alone, in the dark, in a life before cell phones. I could not text anyone to come to my rescue.

I could not cower in the dark and call someone-anyone, our only phone was in the living room, near the front door.

Never had I been so appreciative for the lack of windows in the apartment.

I could not see out, but, thankfully he could not see in.

Once again the apartment became a “rabbit hole” and I cowered inside, hiding from evil.

 

 

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Did you miss the Beginning?

Read the whole the story….

 

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07/30/14

Perspective…

IMG_1517_11

When you focus…

things can change. Maybe not the facts of the situation but, at the very least, the way that you feel about them.

Today…

A regular day. I was at work, doing my thing. Answering phones, placing orders, greeting customers and helping them to design the cakes of their dreams.

It really is much more difficult than it sounds, decorating the cake of someone else’s dreams. We look at things so differently. We like different things, we all perceive “pretty” in our own way, or “cool” or “current”. It really is much more difficult than it sounds.

To top it all off…I am sick again. Miserable aching, nausea, temperature, head-achy, foggy miserable. My temperature is centered in my head and my neck and it makes it very hard to think. Although I am “manning up” and “pulling my weight”,my brain has a very difficult time switching gears and getting the creativity to flow.

And, I am scared. Nervous. Worried. Am I going to get better again? Or worse? I try my best to keep my feelings buried at work, ordering a cake should be a happy experience. I owe that to my clients. But underneath the fear is brewing, constantly simmering, threatening to boil over.

Yeah, I will admit. I am feeling sorry for myself. I’m not proud of it. I like routine. I like things dependable. When I am sick I can not depend on my body or my mind. That scares me.

In she walked…

A normal woman. Dressed comfortably. She wanted to look around. Not sure what she wanted. At least that is what she said. Grabbing a book of custom designed cakes she found one that caught her eye. A pink and white stacked cake, the topper was a big number 16. Her daughter was turning 16.

What a sweet time in life. Your baby girl is growing up. Becoming a young adult. This mom wanted to honor the occasion. To do something special for her daughter.

She asked me for an estimate and decided to keep looking. She never said that she could not afford it, or that it was more money than she wanted to spend. Class act.

I pulled her over to my computer to show her some pictures of Sweet Sixteen cakes and we started talking. Her daughter is in the same school system as mine. Just a year older.

We worked on designing a cake that fit into her budget and chatted some more.

I asked questions, what did her daughter like, sports, clothes, shopping…what did she do? Trying to get an idea of what to put on the cake. But the girl did not play sports or have a hobby. I was stumped and a bit frustrated.

We talked colors, stripes, dots, flowers…we were getting somewhere.

But what she said next changed my perspective.

Her daughter was sick. That peaked my interest. She had a very rare type of cancer. And she had been battling it for the last year and a half.

Now I attempted to talk to her around the huge lump in my throat. She was an incredible mom. Wanting to do something incredible for her daughter. Something to honor the occasion.

And something to celebrate her life.

I called the Cake Decorators, asked them to make this the best Sweet Sixteen cake ever. Do it up, make it awesome. I wanted to pay for the entire cake, but the Mom paid cash before she left-so I will take care of the difference.

“Out of all the Gin Joints…”

That this mother could have walked into. She walked into mine. She changed my perspective. After all they have been through, with all the uncertainty, all the fears, and the unanswered questions about the future-she was a class act.

Here I am, feeling sorry for myself. I owe her more than she knows. She changed the way that I look at my illness, my life, and my future.

It really sucks to be sick. Honestly. But I would be sick a million times before I would ever want to see my children suffer.

So, right now, (and for the last several hours) I am thankful, I am grateful. And I hope to hold on to that feeling, for as long as I can.

 

XOXOXOXO,

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06/29/14

I Hate Confrontation…

All you need is...

All you need is…

Just a little bit of trivia about me…

I don’t like to argue. I don’t like bad feelings. I hate it when I say something that hurts others. I hate that I am grumpy in the mornings, mostly I just don’t really like mornings. Give me an hour of quiet time and a couple cups of coffee…if “morning” could start an hour after I wake, all would be well within my world.

But I digress,

When I wrote Oh Lord, My Church Is Full Of Sinners… I was waiting for the backlash, the disagreement, the harsh words. Even before I wrote it. In fact, I put the article off for months because I did not want the confrontation.

Imagine my surprise when I did not receive any negative comments. None. Not a one. Not only did I not receive any negative feedback, there was absolutely no feedback at all. This is a dilemma. As a writer, a person, and as a Christian.

I know that the article was read, my statistics tell me how many times it was read, how it was accessed, and how much time readers invested in the article.

I geared myself up to defend my beliefs and I did not end up having to do so.

Then life got busy. I began a new job, ending up working 60+ hours a week with just one day off to recuperate before it begins again. My brain has not really been working…it takes Sunday off too. I haven’t visited my own blog in weeks, so Friday when I logged on I was surprised to see someone had left me a comment.

I assumed that the comment was placed on my recent post on the death of our Sweet Baby Rosie, my thoughts have been consumed by her in the last week.

Ah…it has been just a week.

And I miss her just as much today as I did last Sunday.

Ah…it has only been a week.

So…

We all get busy in life. We are wrapped up in what is going on in our present. Our family, marriage, children, jobs. Life gets in the way sometimes. For all of us.

But, as I live each day I learn a bit more. About myself, my faith, beliefs and how I want my children to perceive the world. They are growing into adulthood, forming their own beliefs on the way. I see how much influence Bruce and I have over their thoughts and I want to make sure that I am doing them no harm. How I act, how I treat others, is a model for them. And I hope to set the bar high, so they reach and think as they grow. That they think not only with their head but with their hearts.

The greatest gifts

God, in my opinion, gave us many incredible gifts-too many to name.

One of these gifts was love. The ability to give it and the ability to feel it.

I think that the reason that we miss our Sweet Baby Rosie so much is that she was LOVE. Pure love. She radiated joy. Always. Constantly. And no one was left out. She included everyone that she came in contact with. Each and every day she gave so much.

When we had hard times, she comforted us. When we danced, she danced with us. She never held a grudge, she never pouted. Not once did she ever make us feel that we were not doing enough for her. That we weren’t enough for her. To her, we were her whole world.

Now that she is gone, we realize how much we were loved. And we miss it. It is a HUGE hole.

We are all in mourning. The loss of this pure soul is devastating. My daughter and I were talking about it, the loss. And we agreed, that if we could take away the pain by forgetting Rosie-we would not do it. Although we are floundering and devastated, we choose to be unhappy, we choose love.

Humans are not the only species that bond, that love. When we were having financial issues due to my illness we were worried about losing our home. We love our house and have worked to make it a family hub. But our biggest concern was that if we lost our home it was unlikely that we would be able to take Rosie with us into a rental.

In fact, we had many conversations about it. We could take her to live with my parents, they loved her. She was a “grand-pup” to them. Just saying the words, “Nanna and Papa”, incited her to dance. She loved them as much as they loved her. We even discussed it with my parents, hoping they would come to a different conclusion than we had. But they agreed, although she loved them we were her family. We were her “Joy”. Even if we visited every weekend, we all knew that it would not be long before she died of a broken heart.

Another gift…

Is discernment. Wisdom. Intellect. Reason. God gave us a brain. Each and every species that inhabit this world.

But He gave humans the ability to think. To make decisions, form opinions, beliefs. He gave us the ability to choose to follow Him, but He also gave us the ability to decide not to follow.

He gave us the ability to read His words and the brain to figure out what those words meant to us.

Humans are not the only species to love. Turtle Doves, Bald Eagles, Swans, Gibbons all mate for life. In fact, these animals are much better at lifelong relationships than humans.

They don’t choose to divorce. They do not feel jealousy or hatred. They don’t have stressful jobs or dreams they will do anything to attain. These characteristics are human, they come with our brain, our ability to think, to choose.

I live in Indiana

For three days this past week thousands  of couples were joined together in wedded bliss in Indiana. Love abounded. Pure love. Love with no boundaries. Anyone who loved could be married. ANYONE.

From Wednesday morning until Friday evening. It was a “Rosie” kind of feeling for 3 whole days, pure love and joy, in the state of Indiana. Although I am grieving Rosie, my heart was filled with pure joy, knowing that others were being able to validate love. Share love, spread love and witness love.

God gave us many tremendous gifts

Two of them are love and discernment. I believe that these are gifts that He gave to us and He intended for us to use them. Each and every one of us. I know that I did not go into “why” I believe what I believe, and that is the crux of the matter to many. I have researched, and read, and prayed. I have loved and lost and seen love and loss in others.

God’s greatest commandments directed us to love…

  1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
  2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself

Life is too short here on Earth. Too short to restrict love. To deny love. To judge love.

I am leaving you with a video that I believe. I am grabbing onto the love that was gifted to us, I am using my mind to discern what I believe. How I believe. Who I believe.

And I am wishing that each and everyone of you know PURE LOVE.

For whomever you have love and feel love grab onto it, with both hands. It is a gift that has been given to you, accept it, revel in it, roll in it. When you see it recognize it. Cherish it. Know it.

 

 

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I truly believe this video and all it states. Use your heart and your mind. Love your neighbor and pass it on!

P.S. Just because I was shocked at the lack of confrontational comments does not mean that this post is inviting them, if you have something that you want to say…I request that you say it with kindness. Say it with thought. Say it with discernment. I would love to hear your thoughts but only if they are stated with respect. xooxoxoox

 

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06/27/14

The Miracle That She Was…

Georgia and Rosie (Rosie is about 2 months old here.)

Georgia and Rosie
(Rosie is about 2 months old here.)

If you are friends or followers on Facebook…

 

You know that our Sweet Baby Girl, Rosie, has died. We are devastated by her loss. She was our child-with the fur and tail. We loved her deeply.

We are reflecting on our lives with her, and we are realizing how incredibly lucky blessed we were to have her in our family.

If things would have went the way that we planned, she wouldn’t have. You know what they say about “The best laid plans”…

The Planning…

We moved into our home in March 2006.

Doing all the normal move in duties…deciding what would go where, painting all the walls delicious colors, choosing bedrooms, and reveling in all of the space. Spring sprung, but our home was a new build, and the spring showers turned our grass-less yard into mud. But we didn’t let that stop us. We put in our garden, traipsing through the yard mud to sow our seeds.

Bruce and I were also yearning for a dog. What good is all this open backyard without a dog to muck it up.

This is a big decision for a married couple. We both grew up with dogs, each family having their preferred breed. My family had Golden Retrievers, a loving docile dog. I owned Chows in my early 20s, and Levi’s first dog was a lab/chow mix. Bruce and I were not sure what type of dog that we wanted, but we knew we were looking for a loving pooch that would protect our children as much as she wanted to play with them.

We studied dogs breeds and traits. Size’ and how much shedding we could tolerate, were top considerations. But most of all we wanted a dog that would love us as much as we would love her.

I was thinking German Shepard. It was protective. Loving. But I was not sure that I could handle all of the hair. All of the hair. ALL OVER THE HOUSE.

As I was trying to figure out how to manage the dog hair, Bruce had other ideas.

His research (and his heart) led him to the Boxer breed.

Boxer’s were the original police dog. They were strong, trainable, protective. I wasn’t sure that this was the breed for us, but Bruce (and the adorable photos I found on line) won me over. We were hoping for a female pup, as female Boxers were extremely protective of the children in their families.

Our research took considerable time, spring had led into summer, now it was fall. We combed the newspaper for Boxer puppies for sale. We wanted one from our area, from a private breeder. A good blood line. We were not planning to register her, or preen her for dog shows, but Boxers are prone to hip issues and we wanted to make sure that we were doing our best by our kids, and ourselves. And for our new addition.

And months later…

We found her!

There was an ad from a breeder who had a  litter of pups, she was only an few hours away from us, so we called. At that time she only had one pup left. A little girl. A healthy little girl. We claimed her. And we would be picking her up in a few weeks. It was now December, but we didn’t let winter stop us!

D-Day

Dog Day, that is, was finally here. Unbelievable, as we look back on it now, we were picking up a pup, one that we had never seen. It had taken so long for us to find a dog that fit all of our parameters, so we were taking a leap of faith. That she was the “ONE”, the one that we were destined to have.

About a half hour into our road trip we called the Breeder to let her know that we were on the way. We were so excited! Bruce, Georgia and I had cleaned out the pet store that morning, and our newly purchased dog crate filled the back seat next to Georgia. We had place a very loved, soft blanket in the crate and our puppy’s new bowls, food, treats and collar were in a bag on the floor. We were ready, and so excited!

Best Laid Plans…

The answer that we received from the Breeder was the last one that we expected, and blew our plans to smithereens. She had given our pup away, just last night, to someone else. SHE. GAVE. OUR. PUP. TO. SOMEONE. ELSE.

We pulled the car over, attempting to breath, to figure this out. Georgia, who was just 6 years old, began to cry. Quietly sobbing as she looked at all of the puppy things beside her in the backseat. Items that she helped us choose with such thought and love. Items for a puppy that we would never see.

Bruce and I comforted her, scrambling to figure things out.

We stopped at a gas station grabbing a local sales newspaper and then pulled into Georgia’s favorite restaurant, Steak and Shake. Hoping that the paper held our answer while a milkshake soothed.

We searched and called. And searched and called. For hours we sat in Steak and Shake, searching and calling. Telling our story to Breeder after Breeder, only to hear that all their pups had been claimed.

Working our way through the list, we made another call. There were 9 pups in this litter, and 4 were claimed. They were only 3 weeks old and the owner was not permitting anyone outside of immediate family entry, the pups were still too little for company. But after hearing our story, and our daughters soft sobs, we were granted access. To us, this was tantamount to finding a “Golden Ticket”. We jumped into the car, driving an hour in anticipation of seeing our girl.

As we approached the home…

That held our precious sweet girl, we almost turned around. The yard was not taken care of, neither was the house trailer that we pulled up in front of. But none of that mattered to Georgia, so Bruce and I sucked it up and knocked.

Our knock incited chaos. Loud barking came from the back of the home, multiple dogs making themselves heard. As we walked into the trailer it was dark, gloomy and smelled. We were a bit uncomfortable. But the Breeder was extremely nice and welcoming. As our eyes adjusted to the dark  we saw a pen in the middle of the livingroom, full of beautiful fawn baby boxers. Discomfort faded quickly as the door to the pen was opened and the beauties came rolling out. Pushing, shoving, romping as only a puppy can.

We were in love.

Several of the babies had necklaces, claiming them, we focused on the 5 pups that were not already promised. And we fell, hard. Only we each fell for a different pup.

Georgia fell for the runt. She was so tiny, all of them were really, but this one was so little and she loved to cuddle in Georgia’s lap. I fell for a robust pup and Bruce fell for a third. We needed to make a decision quickly, the Breeder had asked that we not stay long as the pups were so small.

After much discussion, Bruce’s pup was the one to claim our necklace. Georgia had one with her and we used it to stake our claim. The pup was a beauty, her markings lovely, she had a spot on her nose shaped like a heart. It was so hard to leave her there, but we would be back in about 4 weeks to take her home with us.

We insisted, before we left, on putting money on this pup. Losing another would have re-broken our hearts. A written receipt was also a demand, which the Breeder humored us with. And we left, slightly disappointed not to have our baby in tow, but knowing we would have her soon.

Planning…Laugh Out Loud!!!

Since we had a month we decided to take the time to slowly purchase everything that we needed for our pups homecoming, and we got serious about a name. Once again, we all had different ideas. We spent our free time combing baby name books trying to unanimously choose a moniker.

Then the call came from the Breeder. Our pups momma had stopped feeding her offspring. Although they were not quite 5 weeks old, we needed to come get her ASAP.

We ran to the car in excitement, when we returned home we would now be a family of 5, instead of 4. Each of us was a bit nervous, she was only the size of a peanut, she fit in the palm of our hands.  About 5 inches long, and barely 2 or 3 pounds. But she was ours, and we were in love.

We brought her home, the miracle that almost wasn’t.

 

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